And the smoke does not return from the sky.

By the ancient Cathedral of Maní, Yucatan, where Bishop Diego de Landa burned thousands of Mayan codices in 1523, Lupita, an 11-year-old girl in a dirty t-shirt with a bulging belly and a small, quiet voice, approached me in the golden sunlight of a late afternoon in January, 2016, and asked,“Perdon, señor, do you speak Spanish?” “Yes,” I said. “Do you want to hear a story?” “Well, why not?”

Lupita plunked down onto the edge of a flagstone doorway and I plunked down next to her and this is what she said:

“It is told that when the world has run out of water, and there’s no water anywhere and everybody is dying of thirst, you must come to this cenote. When you come, you will meet an old woman. She will ask you to give her a new baby. A one-year-old infant. When you give her the baby, she will satisfy your thirst. They say that the ancient Mayas had many books that held all of their wisdom. And then one day the Friar Diego de Landa came and he burned all the books. But the ancient Mayas kept some books that they buried under the stones. Later they found the books that were buried, but they weren’t the real books, they say. Only two pages were left from the real books. The real books had been taken away, to Spain. It is also said that among the ancient Maya there were women who were dressed as princesses. They bathed them in gold, and they cut off their heads, and they offered them to the cenote. It is this cenote you will come to when the world has run out of water. You will come here and you will give a baby and the old woman will satisfy your thirst.”

A Bishop The Bishop raised his arm, he burned books in the plaza in the name of his little God, turning to smoke the old leaves worn by obscure time. And the smoke does not return from the sky. — Pablo Neruda, Canto General

And Jesus said to her, “Any who drink of this water will know thirst again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give will become a fount of water springing up eternal life…” — John 4:13

%d bloggers like this: